Israel saw 1,681 new coronavirus cases in the past 24 hours, bringing the country’s total since the onset of the pandemic to 41,235, according to the Israeli Health Ministry. Of the active cases, 177 are categorized as serious, with 55 people currently on ventilators. To date, the outbreak has claimed the lives of 368 people.

There are currently nearly 3,000 health workers in quarantine, including 837 nurses and 450 doctors, according to the ministry.

While Israel succeeded in drastically reducing the infection rate following several weeks of strict lockdowns in March and April, after most of the restrictions were removed in May as part of the reopening of the country’s economy, the infection numbers quickly began to surge, rising past 1,000 new cases daily.

The government has reimposed many restrictions, including lockdowns for certain cities and neighborhoods, but has so far been unwilling to return to a full closure, mainly due to concern regarding the country’s economy.

Israel on Monday approved draft legislation to expand the 2020-2021 budgetary framework by NIS 24 billion ($7 billion) as part of the “Safety Net 2020-2021” economic rescue plan.

However, as the infection rate continues to rise there have been increasing calls for a return to a full lockdown.

Meanwhile, on Monday, the World Health Organization (WHO) warned that too many countries are seeing an alarmingly sharp rise in coronavirus figures, adding the unlikeliness that there would be a return to business as usual any time soon.

“I want to be straight with you: There will be no return to the ‘old normal’ for the foreseeable future,” said WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus. “Let me blunt: too many countries are headed in the wrong direction. The virus remains public enemy number one, but the actions of many governments and people do not reflect this.”

The WHO head warned that unless governments introduce comprehensive plans to combat the coronavirus and unless the public adheres to restrictions and guidelines, “It’s going to get worse and worse and worse.”

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